Today I would like to recommend three books with practical tips on how to approach bereavement – our own or someone else’s.
- “The essential guide to life after bereavement” by Judy Carole Kauffmann and Mary Jordan – possibly the most practical book I read so far with the actual tips on how to talk about the news of death, how to talk to kids, how to manage guilt, about the impact of death on the complex family systems but also about memorials, managing anniversaries and moving forward. It’s a very short and compact book – I think more suitable for people who need to do it now and want to find out the “how to” more than underlying processes of grief.
- “Working with bereavement” by Janet Wilson – Wilson is a nurse and academic with practical counselling experience so her focus is also very practical, but it does contain a little bit more dept. This book contains the best write up of all leading bereavement theories that I have seen so far (a real treasure for a student), then moves on to explain the process of death and what happens next. Wilson collects the practical tips of how to support the bereaved but she is also looking at specific important areas: context (culture, faith, spirituality), traumatic death and other specific circumstances and difficult, tabu types of dying (suicide, miscarriage, termination, neonatal and other child death). I think I appreciate the last two chapters the most: the unrecognised grief (for example dementia) and self-care for people who work with the bereaved – an area increasingly more and more important for counselling professionals. I think this book should be in the library of any therapist, really.
- “We need to talk about grief” by Annie Broadbe is what it states in the title: it’s a call to encourage us all to open up and speak up about our grief. The main problem with death is the fact we really don’t want to, nor know how to talk about it without upsetting ourselves and others. So when it comes to those moments when we need support after losing someone close, the society is everything but prepared to hold us. Broadbe collected stories of people’s bereavement and closed each chapter with a few practical tips and notes so when you read her stories think of them as specific experiences but also overall themes.
All fo the above books are now on my shelf and if you are looking for first aid help in bereavement for yourself or a someone else, do start with those.